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4 month old night waking but not with hunger

(11 Posts)
Cosmosis Wed 05-Jan-11 13:26:42

DS is 4 months (17wks) and ebf. He wakes a lot at night, often every 1.5 hours, sometimes he will go back to sleep on his own so I tend to wait a bit before offering a feed. But often when I do he'll just do 30secs of sucking and then fall back to sleep, so he's not actually woken with hunger, and just needs a quick suck back to sleep (I do feed to sleep and he is easy to settle mostly, often just opens his eyes as if to check where he is when put down and then back to sleep). I'm getting a bit too tired and fed up with it now though, so wondered if anyone had any suggestions. I suppose my problem is that I'm not always confident enough it isn't hunger to not offer a feed iyswm. And I'm lazy and keeping doing what I am doing is the easy option blush but I think maybe I do need to try to get him to self settle a bit more? When we've tried it in the past, putting down dozy, it just results in screaming.

Stangirl Wed 05-Jan-11 13:45:49

I've just posted my "story" of how I got my LO to sleep through. There can of course be growth spurts at different ages that mean babies require more frequent feeding but that doesn't sound like the case here. Personally I went for the leave 'em alone approach - sometimes supplemented by a slight rock of the moses basket - and we settled into a feed every 3 hours, then 4hours, then finally sleeping through the night by 6mths.

Cosmosis Wed 05-Jan-11 13:51:19

I do leave for a bit, and he either goes back to sleep (rarer) or starts crying and then I'm not happy leaving. Occassionsally he will go back to sleep with the dummy, but often he acts as though I'm tying to poison him and spits it out in disgust grin

Stangirl Wed 05-Jan-11 14:06:07

Ah - are you not in the same room? If not, I can see that you would be unhappy at leaving him - though i still recommend steeling your resolve and doing so.

Hmm, would it be possible to have him by the side of your bed so you can leave him to cry during the non-feeding wakes but be reassured that if it went on too long or was indicating that he really needed something you could spring into action quickly? In the first few weeks when mine was waking like yours I was so tired that I actually slept through a couple of her cries - which taught me that it didn't kill her. She's an awesome self-settler now.

BTW - you are being a great mum and not taking the "easy option". I wish you the best of luck and a good night's sleep as soon as possible.

Cosmosis Wed 05-Jan-11 14:10:22

yes he's in basket next to my bed, I meant leaving as in not picking up. I just know from past experience that he doesn't settle from being left to cry, he just gets more and more worked up.

bluecheesefiend Wed 05-Jan-11 14:26:29

my DD started this around 4 months (now 5 months) - we tried baby whisperer "pick up / put down" thing which teaches baby to settle him/herself to sleep - it was hard as it takes a little while and you feel like it might not be working (and you know how half an hour can feel like a week) but we stuck with it and after two nights it worked a charm - seems it was a panic thing because she'd fall asleep snuggled in our arms then wake up alone in her cot - now we hear her wake and snuffle for a bit then she settles herself back down. Of course all babies are different and my friend's has gone from sleeping through the night to waking every 2 hours - we think its probably teeth coming through - just keep telling yourself that you're doing your very best and it'll all be a distant memory in a few weeks. Good luck x

Stangirl Wed 05-Jan-11 14:29:49

Do you put him in the basket by your bed before you go to bed? I used to put my DD upstairs at 7pm (still is bedtime) but not go up myself till 10pm - when I gave her a feed. If you did that - and ignored any crying between 7 and 10 - then it might break the cycle. You could sit in your living room with earplugs in - some people who have colicky babies have to do that all the time for their sanity.

Cosmosis Wed 05-Jan-11 14:40:31

yes he goes up between 7 and 7.30ish and goes down fine. He tends to wake at 10/10.30 for a feed and go back down easily, this is when I go to bed, then he will wake anywhere from 12 to 2, sometimes 3. That's all good, normal feeds etc. It's after that that he wakes more often and that's when it's so hard to think as it's the middle of the night!

He'salso being very clingy in the day now which is new so am wondering if it's a developmental change.

May try that pu/pd thing, we did a version of it to get him happy to sleep in his basket rather than on someone.

dietcokeandwine Wed 05-Jan-11 14:42:47

Hi there

I had exactly the same thing with both of mine around this stage and if your DS is anything like them it will quite likely be one of the following (or a combination of all 3!)

-growth spurt and just being generally a bit more unsettled even if not necessarily waking for more food

-getting too big for the moses basket so struggling to re-settle because he's not comfortable

-you're waking him up - it's around the 4 month stage that their sleep cycles become a lot more clearly defined, they will go through cycles of deep and light sleep and are easily disturbed during the 'light sleep' bits (just an adult coughing or turning over in bed could be enough to rouse them).

For us, moving them to their own room and the big cot (both outgrew the moses basket by 4 months, and we couldn't fit a cot into our bedroom so no option but to move them) pretty much solved the problem within days. Might be worth considering this if you feel happy doing so? The thing is, babies will always go through the light/deep sleep cycles through the night - DS2 (now 14m) often wakes and babbles a bit then goes back to sleep - but if he's settled in his own room you may find he just resettles himself more easily. Appreciate that you might not feel happy to move him just yet but it's definitely something to think about.

Cosmosis Wed 05-Jan-11 14:47:35

He's not too big for it, it's a big one and he's not huge. I think I may well be waking him up somtimes, or at least keeping him awake - it does seem the times he settles himself are when I am stillest and quiet. I think moving him probably would help a nit, but also not ashe still does need a feed fairly often (3/4 hrs which I am fine with). good to know others have had the same though, thanks! sorry if m brief, 1 handed typing, feeding!

Stangirl Wed 05-Jan-11 16:06:35

When my DD started sleeping through properly at 6mths I'm convinced the biggest difference was that she was now in her own room and not being woken by us - so you could be onto something there!

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